Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Idol: “1 Of 10 Voted Off”

Illustration for article titled American Idol: “1 Of 10 Voted Off”

I experienced a roller coaster ride of emotions tonight regarding the judges’ save. “I hate it!” “No wait: Use it—USE IT!” “Argh, you fools! You should have used it!” “Actually, I see why they didn’t use it. But still, I am sad.” Who or what caused me to go on this amazing journey? Let’s get to it.

The show opens with the gang singing “For the Longest Time,” which is pretty perfect for the group number. The only noteworthy moments are how tortured Phillip looks being forced to snap and look happy and Hollie muffing up the words right as I started thinking, “It’s nice hearing her sing an upbeat song!”

Next is the music video, which is one of the duller ones to date. After Ryan introduces it with the tantalizing lead, “There’s no hiding from the results,” the contestants play hide and seek to the song “You Found Me," hiding behind a series of implausibly skinny objects. It’s basically the 2012 version of the video for A-Ha’s “Take On Me,” but with even more drama and artistry.

For pre-elimination nonsense, first we’re treated to Lana Del Rey mumbling her way through “Video Games.” (Am I crazy, or does the bigger star usually sing second?) Technically, her voice sounds much better than it did on SNL, but overall I don’t buy into her whole thing. She’s uncompelling, and her finger-talons scare me, plus I’m a little baffled by the uncontrollable audience reaction she gets at the start and end of the song. But, I like that she wore Chuck Taylors onstage.

Steven Tyler, despite the odds, turned another year older tonight. Last year, Stevie Wonder performed, and while this year’s star isn’t quite as luminous, his presence is still noteworthy. Joe Perry appears onstage from behind the contestants to play “Happy Birthday” to Steven. Joe famously derided Steven’s decision to do the show, so the fact that he showed up seems to touch Steven.

Then Haley Reinhart sings her new song “Free,” which I actually kind of like and am going to voluntarily listen to a second time once the show is over. It’s a good song for her, torchy and bluesy. Haley seems quite at home back on the stage, showing some leg and some lopsided Jessie Spano-type hair. Good for Haley: She was never my favorite contestant on Idol but she’s a legitimately good singer.


Finally we get to the results, accompanied by Jimmy Iovine validating all my feelings for me.

Elise has finally managed to claw herself out of the bottom three, thanks to last night’s performance. As commenters predicted last night, DeAndre was sent to the bottom three, which Jimmy blames on the singer’s “frolicking” onstage.


Even though Joshua is safe, Jimmy also agrees with me that it wasn’t his night. “He didn’t understand the song, and he had a Darth Vader thing going on in the bridge.” Apparently, however, Jimmy still feels Joshua is one of the main horses in this show’s race (with Jessica and Colton in competition), but I don’t think Joshua should get quite that comfortable.

Jimmy’s pretty annoyed by Phillip, opining that it’s implied that collaboration is a bad thing in this competition. I don’t think this is a general attitude the judges have: I think they just have the misconception that Phillip is some sort of brave maverick. “Young man, take all the advice you can get,” Jimmy says. I wouldn’t want to be on Jimmy Iovine’s bad side if I were trying to have a serious career in music.


Before we hear Jimmy’s thoughts on HeeJun, the singer threatens us by saying “Something crazier is coming.” I’m not excited, except I am, in a hate-way. As I predicted, Jimmy isn’t amused by HeeJun, saying that he “disrepected the entire process.” HeeJun smirks as he hears Jimmy’s feedback, but I would have wiped that smile off my face when I heard him say “Interscope has to spend a lot of money on someone who wins this show—and that’s not it.” HeeJun finally claims that him ripping off his tuxedo at the start of the show was some sort of “Born This Way” metaphor, which I think is a load and a half.

HeeJun is sent to join DeAndre in the bottom three, so I guess the sarcastic voters weren’t out in force last night. However, despite Jimmy’s opinion that Erika should be at the top of the pack, she’s also sent to the bottom.


The only justice in the world would be if either HeeJun or DeAndre is eliminated, but after DeAndre is sent to safety, Erika is finally eliminated. If I were her, I’d be pissed that stupid HeeJun and his antics got more votes than my actual good singing. Erika sings for her life with “I Believe In You And Me,” and once again is a boss on a song that a lot of lesser girls would look like amateurs on. I think about how the judges used their save last year on Casey and can’t imagine that they wouldn’t save her. Look at her; she’s so good!

But unfortunately, Randy says, with no fanfare or explanation, that they won’t be saving Erika.



However. Now that I think it over, I see why the judges aren’t using it. America is just not voting for Erika, even though she deserves it. To use the save would just be delaying the inevitable. It’s unfair that America doesn’t love Erika, but it’s had plenty of opportunities to see the error of its ways. So, now we’re without one less old lady in the competition.

It’s obvious that Erika’s shaken by the elimination, and Elise runs to her side to comfort her. As the other contestants hang back and wait to offer their condolences, HeeJun lingers in the back. In shame?


Stray observations:

  • Is Lana Del Rey an “indie” pop sensation?
  • Ryan’s pompadour was smaller tonight, and I liked his pocket square.
  • Casey Abrams was in the audience tonight and looking less camera-friendly than ever, God bless him.
  • I was digging the girls’ outfits tonight: Jennifer’s pink dress, Hollie’s skirt and wine-colored shoes, and Elise’s red and tan platforms.